PM orders forensic audit of power discos over overbilling, MDI manipulation

NEPRA to impose fixed monthly charges for certain consumer categories without actual load/MDI recorded

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the Power Division to initiate a forensic audit and inquiry into the issue of overbilling by power distribution companies (Discos) and the manipulation of Maximum Demand Indication (MDI) by the industrial sector. 

According to a news report, these directives were issued during a meeting addressing load shedding, power theft, power tariffs, and the restructuring of the power transmission system.

According to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), certain consumer categories do not have their actual load/MDI recorded. 

Discos have suggested using either a fixed charge per connection or kilowatt of sanctioned load for recovery of fixed charges for these consumers. 

NEPRA has decided to initially impose fixed charges at a fixed rate per month for such consumers, as outlined in the Schedule of Tariffs (SoT). 

NEPRA has instructed that by the next tariff petition adjustment request, MDI for all consumers at all levels should be properly recorded. To minimize the impact of increased fixed charges on these consumers, their variable rate (Rs/kWh) has been adjusted accordingly.

The meeting also discussed the delay in bill payments amounting to hundreds of billions of rupees by federal and provincial governments. The Power Division highlighted that the non-payment of bills by the public sector is exacerbating the already troubled power sector’s financial situation. 

A plan for implementing technological interventions such as transformers and smart metering will be submitted for consideration at the next meeting.

The meeting also reviewed the status of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) and the progress on its restructuring and winding up. 

A committee comprising the Minister for Economic Affairs, Ahad Khan Cheema, the Minister for Power, Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, and former MD NTDC Dr Faiz Ahmad Chaudhry has been formed to finalise the recommendations for the winding up of NTDC.

The Prime Minister has directed the Power Division to prepare a summary for the bifurcation of NTDC into the Pakistan Transmission and Dispatch Company (PTIDC) and the National Transmission Management Company (NTMC) after due diligence. 

Additionally, the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA-G) and the National Power Control Center (NPCC) will be restructured to create an Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO).

Monitoring Desk
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